Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

The Island of Dr. Moreau | H.G. Wells | Classic Science Fiction / Fantasy
Published 1896 | 139 Pp. | Source: My Shelves | Rating B


A shipwreck in the South Seas, a palmy paradise where a mad doctor conducts vile experiments, animals that become human & then "beastly" in ways they never were before - -it's the stuff of high adventure. It's also a parable about Darwinian theory, a social satire in the vein of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels & a bloody tale of horror.

My Thoughts

The Island of Dr. Moreau is one of H.G. Wells lesser known novels.  I came to to about it when I read The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd, a retelling of The Island of Dr. Moreau, but it was when I read Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake that I was reminded of Wells book, and knew I had to read it.

For such a short book, it packs a powerful punch.  Simply as a story it is fascinating enough, but it is what Wells was trying to convey, and the time in which he so boldly dared.    

The story deals with vivisection, the practice of performing operations on live animals in the name of science, but that's not all.  Wells writes of a mad scientist who uses no anesthetic during the procedures, and who is creating something quite sinister in the name of science.  But it is what Wells intended to convey through the storyline that made the book so controversial, and considered blasphemy among many who read it.

"The Island of Dr. Moreau is an exercise in youthful blasphemy. Now & then, tho I rarely admit it, the universe projects itself towards me in a hideous grimace. It grimaced that time, & I did my best to express my vision of the aimless torture in creation."  ~H.G. Wells

I am glad that I finally read The Island of Dr. Moreau.  Beyond it's interesting history, there is so much more.  It is a thought provoking story, especially today as we make advances in science that come into moral question.  Also, and probably one of the most impressive things to me is just how well the story is developed and how well the characters are defined for such a short book.  Mind you, it would have been so much better if it had been longer and more developed, but it's a nice little drink of classic science fiction / fantasy.

Counts Towards:

B.B. Toady Weekly No. 14

Linking to Caffeinated Book Reviews' Sunday Post


Since it is just the two of us, me and Mr. Toady, we have had a good time of grocery shopping for all sorts of interesting dinner foods that are better suited for two.  Despite this wretched pain that has a hold of me, we are Last night we had severe weather.  The lightening was so big, and came without pause, that it seemed like daylight.  It was a beautiful spectacle.  I only hope that all are safe as the tornado warnings were a plenty.

Earlier in the day it was safe, but miserably rainy, so I went on a little adventure with grand-toady.  I normally quite despise the shopping mall experience, but it turns out that I had a wonderful time.

Grand-toady rode the carousel.

We visited the bouncy house play area.  

She is a fearless fool at 17 months.

On the Blog

New To My Shelf

American Woman's Bible (purchased hardback)
Owl by William Service (purchased hardback)

Books I Am Juggling This Week

The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck - Currently Reading
The Nix by Nathan Hill - Currently Listening
American Woman's Bible - Reading for The 2017 Bible as Literature Read, along with other editions
We Have Always Lived In a Castle by Shirley Jackson - Starting this week

Reviews I Am Writing

Newest Personal Project

I have been reading through the bible for the Bible as Literature Group Read, hosted by Rachel at Hibernator's Library.  The Bible is a beautiful piece of literature.  I happen to believe that it is God inspired, but it is a worthy reading venture no matter what you believe.

I just completed Genesis, wrote up a simple summary on my thoughts, and have moved on to Exodus, where I am pleased to say that it dawned on my in this pass the meaning of a set of versus that I couldn't figure out before!  I can't wait to share that with you in my Exodus summary near the end of the month.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book 1 of 66: The Book of Genesis

The Book of Genesis is the first book of the Bible and the author is unknown.  It is one of the five books that comes under the heading of Law, and is mostly known for it's two stories, Adam and Eve and Noah's Ark.  While both of these stories are outstanding, there are many others within the book that are equally amazing.

My favorite story is the family saga that begins with Abraham and Sarah.  begins with a love story that endures some of the worst of times.  It shows a couple who make horribly rash decisions in their impatience for God's timing.  Yet, their love endures, and God is good, and the lesson of believing God shine through.  Abraham and Sarah become the mother and father of a great nation and leave a legacy like no other.

I did an entire study on believing God, and through that, I found just how many times this couple was referred to later in the bible as an example.  While they did try to take things into their own hands, ultimately they believed God's promise to them, and were greatly enriched.  Romans Chapter 4 is a chapter that is later written in the New Testament heavily relies on Abraham's belief to make some big points.

Contrary to popular belief, the Bible makes many references to a woman's worth, and one of my favorite passage is in Genesis where it points out the importance of how a woman can be a comfort to her husband.  I suppose there are some woman today who don't care anything about that, but I would like to think that I am a comfort to my husband, especially in a time of need.  The passage is one that relates to Isaac, Sarah and Abraham's son.  Isaac is grief stricken over his mother's death and was comforted by his new bride, Rebekah.
Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he love her.  So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.  Genesis 24:67 NKJ
Then there is the many stories that include Jacob, grandson of Abraham and Sarah, and son of Isaac.  His love story is a unique one that is both tragically sad, and incredibly satisfying.  The ways that God uses him are amazing!

Yo! There is so much more to Genesis than a lot of people realize.  It's fascinating.  If you don't like the old english, that's okay.  There are dozen's of translations to choose from.  I personally find King James to be beautiful, but for the purpose of this reading, I have chosen to pick up my reading pace with New King James.

No matter your belief's, the Bible is an outstanding piece of literature, and while I have studied the bible from dozens of angles over the years whether it be a women's bible study, a couples bible study, or used it as an instrument for teaching our children, this will be my first time reading it from beginning to end as a piece of literature.  I am taking on this project through the encouragement and inspiration of Rachel at Hibernator's Library, who is writing some outstanding posts as she makes her way through each chapter.

Who am I to review the Bible?  I don't have an ounce of business doing any such thing, so I intend to just write up a brief summary of each book as I come to the end of my reading.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things | Bryn Greenwood | Contemporary Fiction 
Pub. Aug. 2016353 Pp. | Source: My Shelves | Rating D-

Book Blurb

As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It's safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.

By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy's family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. Kellen may not be innocent, but he is the fixed point in Wavy and Donal's chaotic universe. Instead of playing it safe, Wavy has to learn to fight for Kellen, for her brother, and for herself.

My Thoughts

Can someone tell me what all the hubbub is?  The writing was okay, the storyline was okay, the main character was completely unrealistic, the outcome was idiotic, and for anyone who is swooning over that end...Well that's just ill.

I spent a lifetime working with kids that came from homes like the main character, Wavy, and I can tell you that kids don't think that way.  While I found her actions realistic, I wasn't at all sold that she would have such a degree of insight as to why she did the things that she did at such a young age.  It takes years, if ever, for children to realize what drives their behavior.  While some children may be more insightful than others, I have never seen a seven year old that can explain her irrational behavior in such a rational way, but I suppose it makes an easy way to tell a story.

Interestingly tragic factoid:  One out of four girls will be sexually abused in some way before getting to adulthood.   With Wavy's family being surrounded by drugs, sex, and with there level of neglect, I find it silly to believe that the only abuse she suffered came from the emotional abuse she was subjected to early on by her mother, and the neglect that she suffered through for the duration of being with her family.

Even as a strong child advocate, I still didn't have a big issue with Kellen and Wavy's relationship as far as the 'pedophile' angle.  Their relationship started out as, and stayed, a friendship that both of the characters needed, it stayed appropriate for years, and I never got the slightest sense that Wavy was being groomed.  Still...It was a sick emotionally codependent relationship, which I assumed was the point of the story, but it turns out that author Bryn Greenwood means to present All the Ugly and Wonderful Things as a bit of a dime store romance.  What a crock of shit.

These types of relationships don't have an 'happily ever after', but yet this one did.  I so badly wanted Wavy and Kellen to go their separate ways in the end and for Wavy to find some sort of strength within herself.  It is such a pity.  This author took a tragic story and wrapped it up with a pretty little bow at the end, where the family all comes together, the issue with Wavy's brother comes to a quick wrap, and all is well.  Kellen not only saves Wavy, but brings an entire family together?   I call bullshit.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

The Girl Before  |  J.P. Delaney  |  Psychological Thriller  |  Pub. Date Jan. 24, 2017  |  Rating B+

Note: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for my review.  

Book Blurb

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

My Thoughts

And I present to you another 'Girl' book, The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney. An excellent book that has seemed to have pissed off some early readers because some comparisons to Gone Girl.

I suggest that you read it, but get it out of your head right now that it is anything like Gone Girl. These comparisons drive me mad. One is simply not the other, and should be left to each of it's own merits. The Girl Before has a large cast of seemingly deranged characters, one of them a liar, which leaves the reader constantly guessing who is the one to be the most feared, but really, that is where the similarities end. Aren't the best psychological thrillers often but with just such characters?

It is all to do with how the author developed the characters, the pace in which things unfold, and the suspense that is built that makes or breaks such a book, and J.P. Delaney has built a winner. While I was not entirely thrilled with some of the details around the conclusion, I was indeed entertained, held in suspense, took delight in my wavering feelings for different individuals, and found the overall setting and plot to be quite original.  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

B.B. Toady Weekly No. 13

Linked to Caffeinated Book Reviewer's Sunday Post


We have had some beautiful weather here this week, sunny and cool, and it has been nice to just get out on the porch, or get out for a ride in the sunshine.

This was the week of solutions and decluttering of the home, mind, and blog.  Last week I reported that I was in the middle of too many books, so I got ahold of that.

I took some time to cull and update inventory for my books, with the help of Mr. Toady's lifting power.  I got rid of 100's, and it is so freeing.  I know for some of you it is unimaginable, but right now I need simple and organized.  I wrote down my entire inventory that I was left with to share with you.

I think I am making progress with this stinking' sciatica.  While it appears that surgery may be my only option in the end, I have discovered MLR Laser Treatment.  It looks very promising.  If you have any sort of injury, pain, surgery incision, neuropathy, etc., check it out.  It treats those things and many more, and while I am going to need further rounds, one was enough to feel a bit better, along with some handy natural sleep remedies and natural pain relievers that were recommended by Doc's wife.  

I've done some crocheting since I actually felt good enough to get back to work on an afghan that I was hoping to finish for Christmas, but would be happy to send along anytime if I could only sit long enough to get it complete. 

On the Blog

Reading What I Own Inventory: The Heavy Culling of My Shelves
Persuasion by Jane Austen (review 5🌟's)

New To My Shelf

Lucky You by Erika Carter (Book of the Month Selection)
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn (Book of the Month Freebie)

Books I Might Read This Week...

...if not distracted by other books

Reading What I Own Book Inventory

Less is more, even with books, as far as I'm concerned, and I feel like I get more reading done when I am not distracted about where I am going next.  The results of this years culling session?  I am down to about a third of what I had.  Our poor little coal library loves this time of year.  They are happy to have them.

strikethrough indicates removed from library

Books Owned Read in 2017: 1

Print Books Fiction

92 Pacific Boulevard (Cedar Cove #9) by Debbie Macomber
American Woman's Bible  *acquired 2017
An Angels Story by Max Lucado
Big Sky Mountain (Parable Montana #2) by Linda Lael Miller
Bless Her Dead Little Heart (Southern Ladies #1) by Miranda James
Bran New Death (Merry Muffin #1) by Victoria Hamilton
Brideshead by Evelyn Waugh
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado
The Christmas Child by Max Lucado
The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere
The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
The Complete Works of William Shakespear
A Country Christmas by Debbie Macomber
Cousin Bette by Honoré De Balzac
A Crime In the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne
Dead Giveaway by Joanne Fluke
Death At Wentworth Court by Carola Dunn
Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh
Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Dracula by Bram Stoker
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Emma by Jane Austen
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Grownup by Gillian Flynn
A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
I Am Rembrandt's Daughter by Lyyn Cullen
The Inn at Rose Harbor (Rose Harbor #1) by Debbie Macomber
A Killer Read (Ashton Corners Book Club #1) by Erika Chase
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMrutry
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
Lucky You by Erika Carter
Lye in Wait by Cricket McRae
Martinis & Mayhem (Murder She Wrote #5) by Jessica Fletcher
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Mum's the Word Flower Shop Mystery #1) by Kate Collins
Mr. Wilson's War by John Dos Passos  *acquired in 2017
Night by Elie Wiesel
Our Happy Time by Gong Ji-Young
The Outcast by Sadie Jones
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Owl by William Service  * acquired in 2017
Pall in the Family (Family Fortune #1) by Dawn Eastman
The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber
Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle
Ruby by Cynthia Bond
The Shattered Court (Four Arts #1) by M.J. Scott
A Skeleton in the Family (Family Skeleton #1) by Leigh Perry
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
The Time Machine and The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
Twain's End by Lynn Cullen
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
We Have Always Lived In the Castle by Shirley Jackson
We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
The Winter Lodge (Lakeshore Chronicles #2) by Susan Wiggs
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Print Books Nonfiction

Christmas Through a Child's Eyes by Helen Szymanski
Every Day In the Sun by Dean Faulkner Wells
Genesis by John B. Judis
Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly
Mr. Wilson's War by John Dos Passos (recommended by Steve Donoghue)
Owl by William Service (recommended by Steve Donoghue)
Shrill by Lindy West
A Simple Christmas by Mike Huckabee
What To Expect The Toddler Years  by Heidi Murkoff

eBooks Fiction

11/22/63 by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood Read 01/19/2017  (REVIEW)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Ben Hur by Lew Wallace (Carol Wallace Edited Edition)
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Can You Forgive Her (Palliser #1) by Anthony Trollope
Christodora by Tim Murphy
Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses by Mary Mc Hugh
Christmas is Murder by C.S. Challinor
Cloche and Dagger (Hat Shop Mystery #1) by Jen McKinlay
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Book 1 by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Book 2 by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by by Leo Tolstoy
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Emma by Jane Austen
The Enchanted by Rene Denfield
Evelyn, After by Victoria Helen Stone
The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan  Swift
Hail to the Chef (White House Mystery #2) by Julie Hyzie
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch  *acquired 2017
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
Little Girls Lost (Hard Case #4) by Richard Aleas
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes
Mayhem at the Orient Express (League of Literary Ladies #1) by Kylie Logan
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1) by Agatha Christie (and complete series)
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Mrs. Jeffries Dusts for Clues (Mrs. Jeffries #2) by Emily Brightwell
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
The Nix by Nathan Hill
Our One Country by Jodi Daynard
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Rebecca by Daphne du Manrier
The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne
The Shoemakers Wife by Adriana Trigiani
A Simple Amish Christmas by Vannetta Chapman
The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd
Songs of Innocence (Hard Case #33) by Richard Aleas
Strong Spirits (Daisy Gumm #1) by Alice Duncan
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
The Vines by Christopher Rice
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
When Calls the Heart (Canadian West #1) by Janette Oke
The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor  *acquired 2017
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

eBook Nonfiction

American On Purpose by Craig Ferguson
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology by Jenna Miscavige Hill
Capote: A Biography by Gerald Clarke
First Women by Kate Andersen Brower
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
The Other Wes Moore by by Wes Moore
The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower

Print Books Fiction Series Books Past Where I Have Read

1225 Christmas Tree Lane (Cedar Cove 12) by Debbie Macomber
Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death (A.R. #7) by M.C. Beaton S:A
Call Me Mrs. Miracle (Angelic Intervention #8) by Debbie Macomber
Home for the Homicide Do-It-Yourself #7) by Jennie Bentley
Last Writes (Forensic Handwriting #4) by Sheila Lowe
Mr. Miracle (Angelic Intervention #10) by Debbie Macomber
Seed No Evil (Flower Shop Mystery #14) by Kate Collins
Trick or Treachery (Murder She Wrote #14) by Jessica Fletcher
Where Angels Go (Angelic Intervention #6) by Debbie Macomber

eBooks Fiction Series Books Pat Where I Have Read

Miss Marple Series by Agatha Christie
     The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple #2) by Agatha Christie
     The Body in the Library (Miss Marple #3) by Agatha Christie
     The Moving Finger (Miss Marple #4) by Agatha Christie
     A Murder is Announced (Miss Marple #5) by Agatha Christie
     They Do It With Mirrors (Miss Marple #6) by Agatha Christie
     A Pocket Full of Rye (Miss Marple #7) by Agatha Christie
     4:50 from Paddington (Miss Marple #8) by Agatha Christie
     The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side (Miss Marple #9) by Agatha Christie
     The Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple #10) by Agatha Christie
     At Bertram's Hotel (Miss Marple #11) by Agatha Christie
     Nemesis (Miss Marple # 12) by Agatha Christie
     Sleeping Murder (Miss Marple #13) by Agatha Christie
     Miss Marple Final Case (Miss Marple #14) by Agatha Christie

Palliser Series by Anthony Trollope
     Phineas Finn (Palliser #2) by Anthony Trollope
     The Eustace Diamonds (Palliser #3) by Anthony Trollope
     Phineas Redux (Palliser #4) by Anthony Trollope
     The Prime Minister (Palliser #5) by Anthony Trollope
     The Duke's Children (Palliser #6) by Anthony Trollope

 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

Read Inventory

Print Books I Kept For Rereading

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Cane River by Lalita Tademy
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
Emotive by Kevin Laymon
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Future Winds by Kevin Laymon
The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins
God Rest Ye Merry Soldiers by James McIvor
God's Instruction Book for Grandparents
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells  Read 01/22/2017  (REVIEW)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
A Southern Belle Primer by Maryln Schwartz

Print Reference Books Kept On Hand

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die by Peter Boxall
The Bibliophile's Dictionary by Miles Westley
The Constitution of the United States...
Merriam Websters Dictionary
Questions Kids Ask About God
Who's Who In the Bible

Print Books Collected For Grand-Toady

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
     1.  The Secret of the Old Clock
     2.  The Hidden Staircase
     3.  The Bungalow Mystery
The Pigman's Legacy by Paul Zindel

eBooks I Kept To Reread

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Emotive by Kevin Laymon
Future Winds by Kevin Laymon
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist
Paper Angels by Jimmy Wayne
The Stand by Stephen King
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman